Raise Responsibility System: Question about Phase II

We have been discussing how to use the Raise Responsibility System in our classrooms and we have a question.

When checking for understanding, if the student identifies the level correctly, do you still give a referral to fill out?


A prime reason why the levels are taught (phase I of the system) is to create a benchmark or reference frame. Checking for understanding (phase II) is the second step of simple cognitive learning theory. First we teach (levels of social development); then we test (check for understanding).

The key to the success of the program are these first two phases. When a youngster acts inappropriately, the teacher asks in an inquiring tone using relaxed body language, “On what level is that behavior?” With some students and with those above grade seven (7), the question can be perceived as coercive. In these situations, just say, “Reflect on the level you are choosing and decide if you want to continue it.” The question or statement prompts the student to reflect on the chosen level. That is why it is essential to teach the levels of social development first—so that the youngster has a benchmark or framework upon which to reflect.

Using phases I and II separates the act from the actor, the deed from the doer, a good kid from inappropriate behavior. The result of the procedure is that the youngster does not have to self-defend. It is defensiveness on the part of the youngster that usually results in a confrontation between adult and youth.

If the system did nothing else than separate the student from inappropriate behavior, it would be worthwhile teaching the levels because adversarial relations and stress are bypassed.